Arabic daycares and preschools provide an outstanding opportunity for young children to develop or preserve their knowledge of the Arabic language. Arabic preschools also allow toddlers and preschoolers to improve their social awareness and build an appreciation for Middle Eastern culture in a fun and supportive environment. One of the most widely-spoken languages in the world (there are over 250 million people who speak Arabic in the Middle East and North Africa), Arabic is also one of the six official languages of the United Nations and Bloomberg's third best foreign language for business. This all makes Arabic immersion daycares and preschools an excellent choice for kids of all backgrounds.
The first three or four years of life are an ideal time for a child to learn a second language, and doing so can provide many advantages in a child's cognitive and social development. Contrary to a common misconception, there has been no scientific link found between dual language learners and a delay in language development. Bilingual children have indeed been proven to consistently reach early education milestones at the same rate as their English-only peers. In fact, some studies have found that learning a second language can increase the rate of English language acquisition. If you're still on the edge about whether or not a bilingual daycare and preschool is a good option for your family, read this article about 5 reasons why your child should attend a language immersion preschool.
Instruction in Arabic immersion preschools can take several forms, including extracurricular activities, structured weekly curriculums, or full language immersion. Extracurricular instruction is irregular and often informal, tending to focus on basic vocabulary, cultural exploration, social development and play. These can often be found in Arabic in-home daycares for instance. Curriculum-based child care programs and preschools involve more formal instruction, which is usually offered a few hours each week. While using age-appropriate methods similar to those in curriculum-based facilities, full Arabic immersion preschools will have extended periods of the day or even entire days when Arabic is the only language spoken. Other times will be reserved for English or dual-language activities.
That said, teachers in language immersion daycare and preschool programs always want the children, especially infants and toddlers, to feel secure and comfortable with their environment. They will thus generally switch to a child's native language if he or she becomes overly confused or upset. This reduces stress and encourages learning, over time. Although less common than for languages like Spanish or Chinese, Arabic language instruction can be found in child care centers of all types, as well as in home daycares where the main child care provider speaks Arabic. If possible, parents seeking to promote bilingualism in their children should focus their attention on language immersion or curriculum-based programs. These are somewhat rare, but are available in some areas.
You don't even need to speak Arabic for your child to have a successful and enjoyable experience. Language skills are transferable and focusing only on English language development at home, along with enthusiastic support for your child's work at their Arabic bilingual preschool should be enough for their needs. You can also read this article with 6 tips for raising multilingual children. If you would rather avoid a structured academic environment or if bilingual preschools and daycare centers are not available nearby, extracurricular exploration of the Arabic language can still lead to improved cognitive development, cultural awareness, stronger social skills, and most importantly, fun!
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